I am caught in a tension between wanting everything to make sense and realising that I don’t know everything. There are days that I think I can work out how it all fits together and, in those days, I feel a measure of control over the universe. Then there are other days when everything seems to be flying apart.
There is a swinging pendulum between utopia and dystopia in many ways is what I experience as the roller coaster of life. My moments of utopian controlled perfection and mastery of the universe are in fact those moment where I may be most ignorant of the sheer size and scope of all that is. This is juxtaposed with dystopian moments of chaos and disarray where I become overwhelmed by the knowledge of the magnitude and scope of possibilities and entropy seems inevitable.
In the Comedy series the Good place, created by Michael Schur one of the first questions asked by the main character on arrival in the afterlife was “who was right?”. The reply was creatively evasive at first suggesting that every belief got some of it right and then revealed that Doug Fawcett got 97% of the answer to the meaning of life correct while ingesting magic mushrooms. While he was out of control a clarity was attained.
Now before we all go rushing out the garden to look for the fruiting body of Psilocybe Subaeruginosa let us reflect for a moment on the relationship between control and release.
I have been feeling that there a very few things that are under my control in recent days, my health has been poor, the world is in COVID uncertainty and the church is in decline. There are a great many things I can do nothing about. I have noticed that to cope with this I have been leaning heavily into my creative self. I have been tending to my garden and keeping it well watered, fed and weed free. I have been making my Podcast and appreciating fiction in tv and literature. I have been building new worlds in virtual spaces such as Civ6 and 7 days to die.
During my dozy TV binging I have caught up on my Star Trek Discovery where I heard the Character Spock say “The Universe is under no obligation to make sense to you.” This quote from Neil deGrasse Tyson got me thinking about the way we make (construct) sense (meaning) of the universe. Each of us seeks in our own way to construct meaning and where we run into the most confusion is when the meaning we construct is different to those around us. One of the places this becomes most obvious is when a book/comic/world we love is made into a movie. All the meaning we have made around this construct can become at risk of being interpreted and communicated in a different way. This re-framing or reconstruction can appear to undermine our meaning, threatening to bring a dystopia to our carefully curated utopia.
Somewhere between fighting to hold our own constructed meaning and abandoning all deep thought to not caring at all is a place of balance where we can hold in creative tension the incomplete reality of our understanding. To allow our minds to be made without becoming made up and find a certain peace in the face of incomplete data.
I will think on this more